Online credit card processing for small businesses: 7 best options


You must accept credit cards to operate online. It’s that simple. But what’s not so simple is choosing the right online credit card processing for small businesses. The onslaught of online businesses in the last few years has made the industry much more competitive and fairly difficult to manage.

If you are a new business owner or have just started doing business online, a large number of credit card processing companies will be available to you today. Worse, if you don’t know what to look for when processing credit cards, you may be deceived by hidden costs or high costs.

In this guide, I share with you the best choices for online credit card processing for small businesses and share with you what you need to look for to be an informed customer.

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What to Look for in the Best Credit Card Processing Companies

The terms, prices, and huge amount of information they throw at you when you’re looking for credit card processing companies are truly remarkable. But once it’s broken down, you can see what you should focus on – where you should negotiate and when you should go and find another credit card processor.

Price model

Everyone is worried about the price, and you should because the two pricing models work very differently and can have a big impact on your profits.

  • Flat rate – You pay one commission for each transaction, regardless of its amount or type of payment. This method makes it difficult to determine costs. Still, it’s great for new businesses that don’t have a history and can’t approve it for their own merchant account. PayPal and Stripe are two common cases that offer a pooled account that does not require an individual merchant account.
  • Interchange plus – This model charges an exchange fee (charged by the card issuer) plus a margin for the credit card processor. This method is more transparent and can save you money on processing costs, as you pay a special interbank fee for the type of transaction. For example, the cost of processing a debit card is much lower than the cost of processing credit cards, so you would save money on costs.

Other fees

Many credit card processing companies have hidden fees. They disclose monthly subscription costs (if any) and commission per transaction, but neglect to share other fees you may pay, including statement fees, PC compliance fees, or debit support.

Some companies even charge cancellation or start-up fees. Please ask for all costs before signing the contract.

Good customer service

The last thing you want is to have trouble collecting payments and there is no one available at your credit card processing company to help you. Because online businesses operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you need a processor that provides support 24 hours a day.

PCI compliance

PCI compliance is crucial and great. If you do it wrong or ignore it, you can lose a lot of money on fees and penalties. You will be taken care of by the right credit card processing company, which will allow you to focus on your business and not worry about the legality of credit card processing.


If you need features other than credit card processing, take a look at what each business has to offer. For example, do you need to save data for recurring purchases, offer discounts, accept gift cards, or need billing support?

Find out what each credit card processing company has to offer and see how it matches your goals and / or the needs of your online business.

The best online credit card processing options for small businesses

Best choice: square

Need a payment processor for your business that you can rely on?

Square helps millions of retailers run their businesses with secure credit card processing, point-of-sale solutions, and setting up a free online store.



Square it charges a flat rate and is easy to approve as it is a merged merchant account. Square offers free POS software and even a free mobile card reader if you also accept personal payments.

Fees: 2.9% of the transaction plus $ 0.30


  • Setup is quick and easy
  • Funds are transferred the next business day
  • It offers other features including a customer loyalty program, gift cards and even has HR features


  • Flat rates are not transparent
  • Many features include additional costs such as email marketing, payroll and customer loyalty program

The line

Stripe offers new businesses an easy and fast way to start collecting credit card payments online. Like Square, they charge flat rates, but have no additional or hidden costs. Merchants can accept more than 12 different types of payments and even accept international payments.

Fees: 2.9% of the transaction plus $ 0.30


  • Transparent prices without start-up or cancellation costs
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Accepts debit cards, credit cards, digital wallet payments and purchases now pays later payments


  • It has an open API for custom purchase options, which can be too much for beginners.
  • Payments take two business days or are immediate for payment


Helcim started in Canada but expanded to the US in 2013. A long-standing company does not charge a monthly subscription, but uses a post-expiration payment structure. It runs on any platform, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and you can even set up a free hosted store if you haven’t built your own online store. If you already have a store, you can integrate Helcim into your site using the API.

Fees: Exchange plus price 0.5% plus $ 0.25 per transaction


  • It handles all PCI compliance
  • Easy installation
  • No setup or cancellation costs


  • It has a large high-risk category of industries that will not be approved
  • It charges $ 15 for each return charge

Stax by Fattmerchant

Stax may be suitable for a company with a large volume of transactions. Because of a $ 99 monthly subscription, you may not want it if you don’t process enough transactions to make it pay off. Large-scale traders, however, benefit from a much lower rate of return on exchange plus price. Stax can be integrated with almost any payment gateway. They offer many accessories to make running a business even easier.

Fees: Membership fee $ 99 / month plus exchange + $ 0.15 per transaction


  • It offers a wide range of add-ons, including Quickbooks integration and online store setup
  • No cancellation costs
  • It offers free pricing analysis so you can decide if it’s right for you.


  • You pay a membership fee even if you do not process any payments this month.
  • You need to get permission for your merchant account, which takes time and there is no guarantee that you will receive approval.

Payment line data

Payline data is popular with small businesses, especially those that operate only online and do not have a regular store. It is great for companies that fall into the high-risk category because they have a much higher approval rate for companies that are considered high-risk. However, if you work in person and online, you will pay a separate membership fee for each.

Fees: $ 20 monthly commission plus exchange plus 0.4% + $ 0.20 per transaction


  • No cancellation fees or other hidden costs
  • It works according to the payment system
  • It offers opportunities for almost all types of business


  • You must have at least $ 25 monthly processing costs
  • It charges a refund fee of $ 25


PayPal is a home name and customers are often reassured when deciding whether it is safe to use their credit card on your site. PayPal is easy to integrate into any existing e-commerce store and you can start with a monthly subscription of $ 0 unless you want to customize your shopping experience, which then costs an additional $ 30.

Commissions: exchange plus 2.9% plus $ 0.30 per transaction


  • Approval is easy as it is a merged merchant account
  • It works with many third party integrations
  • No monthly membership fee


  • It has a long list of risky / unjustified companies
  • It does not offer 24/7 customer service

National processing

National Processing offers strict credit card processing. You won’t receive towards businesses like Stripe or Square, but sometimes that’s all a company needs. National Processing has excellent ratings and works, which it promises – it processes payments without hidden or high costs.

Fees: $ 10 monthly fee plus Interchange plus 0.30% + $ 0.15 per transaction


  • Easy to set up and use
  • No long-term contract. You can cancel at any time
  • Great for small businesses on a low budget


  • You can pay a $ 5 monthly transition fee
  • E-commerce companies pay a $ 10 monthly fee
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Final thoughts

Finding the best online credit card processing for small businesses is a big job. You need a company that can handle the quantity you will process at the most affordable prices. Shop and see what options you have.

I assure you that no credit card processing company is the same. Take a look at your options, decide which one offers the features you need and the prices you want to pay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a payment switch?


A payment switch is what “talks” between a customer’s bank and a merchant’s account. This gives you approval or rejection, depending on the status of the customer’s account. You must have a payment gateway to accept online credit card payments.

What is an issuing bank?


The issuing bank is the bank that issued the customer’s credit card. It is also the bank that can approve or reject the transaction.

What is a merchant account?


A merchant account is a small business account to which money is sent from a customer’s account to pay for a purchase.


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